Bicycling Magazine calls it “One of the top 10 multi-day rides in America.” And this year when cyclists gather for the 26th annual Michigander Bicycle Tour, they will explore the region ABC’s “Good Morning America” dubbed “The Most Beautiful Place in America.”
“What we try to do is show off the trails in Michigan. This is a showcase of trails and bicycling vacations.”
— Mary McGuire Slevin
“We’re excited about it, and the towns are happy we are coming,” said Mary McGuire Slevin, assistant director for Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance, the Lansing nonprofit behind the tour expected to draw 800 cyclists to northwest Michigan from July 15-22. “What we try to do is show off the trails in Michigan. This is a fundraiser for us and a showcase of trails and bicycling vacations.”
The 2016 Michigander brought cyclists to West Michigan, where they rode through 16 scenic and quaint towns and cities from Hart to South Haven. The 2017 Michigander combines the beauty of northern Michigan beaches and forests at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with the fresh-water, sand beach and lighthouse views found between Frankfort and Leland, Traverse City and Northport.
Riders can choose between two-day, six-day and eight-day tours. Beginners often choose the two-day, according to McGuire Slevin. It involves riding 25 to 30 miles a day, where the longer tours cover 50 miles per day. Sag wagons will provide refreshments every 10-15 miles. Riders do not have to carry their camping gear — all of the gear is shuttled from campsite to campsite by the organizers.
New in 2017, riders will spend two days and nights in each overnight locale instead of packing up and moving each day. Riders on the longer tours will have two days to tour or rest in each stopover locale. The six-day tour begins in Frankfort, goes to Leland, Traverse City and back.
“We have a guy whose family comes, and they all wear shirts saying ‘I’m with Joe,’ McGuire Slevin said. “He wears a shirt that says ‘I’m Joe.’ He’s 86 years old. He’s done 23 Michiganders, and his kids come in from all over the country. This will be his 24th.”
To register or learn more about the Michigander, visit bit.ly/michigander.